Univision Says It May Sell


Shares in Spanish-language broadcaster Univision Communications jumped Wednesday on news that the company is considering putting itself up for sale.

Univision acknowledged that is has hired investment banker UBS to help it "explore strategic alternatives," which are usually code words for "sell". Other options include selling assets, refinancing the company, or making a major acquisition.

Univision shares increased 11% Wednesday to $34.50. That would value the whole company at around $12 billion, though Merrill Lynch media analyst Jessica Reif Cohen says the company will ultimately be worth $40 per share or $13.8 billion.

Many media companies could be interested in the fast-growing Spanish-language market, but federal rules limiting TV stations ownership could be a major complication.

CBS and News Corp. are already at the federal cap and have duopolies in many key Hispanic markets. Disney’s ABC unit could swing a deal, as could Viacom Inc., which owns no stations.

News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch doesn't sound too interested, anyway. "We don’t have any specific intentions, he said Wednesday, "and at the prices I’ve heard thrown around, we have no intentions."